Monday, March 30, 2009

Breast Cancer’s Five-Year Journey Ended Today

Five years ago today we (spouse, family and I) waited for my left breast to heal from its lumpectomy before I could begin the next six-weeks of radiation. I did not know what was ahead. Every cancer survivor has felt this drift into cancer-treatment-oblivion. The scalpel had done its job; now my oncology battle blueprints included precise radioactive mechanics along with a five-year chemical assault.

The emotion remains obtuse. And this word, obtuse, I'm not sure if it is the correct one or not because I remain slightly addle-brained from the anti-cancer drug saturation.

Tonight's blog, however, is not about then. It is about TODAY. Yesterday I flew into Santa Fe so that, today, I could take my final 6th-month mammogram, and meet with both oncologists. Mammogram clean; blood samples clean. Oncologist One, gave me a hug and said, "Take the last of your Arimidex, and get on with your life. If you want, you can see me next year, but your primary physician is really all you need now." Oncologist Two said, "I can't promise that you won't be 'slightly addle-brained,' I mean, I'm your age and I struggle with names—but unless you notice something really odd, I don't need to see you again."

That's it. I'm done. My daughter and son-in-law brought home champagne and flowers. We hugged and hugged. I cried.

How much change has occurred within me since 2004? Enough change to write a book.

Would I do this again? I pray I don't have this decision to make again.

It's estimated that 211,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. So, I am not that unique. Sadly, 40,000 will die from the disease. About 1,700 men are diagnosed each year with breast cancer.

The majority of diagnosed women will survive. They will survive, in part, because of the tireless work by the volunteers who walk, run, bicycle, and donate funds to organizations devoted to finding the cure.

Thank you.

It's my turn now. Maybe I'll see you on the next walk to find the cure.

Meet Mawser--he's the furball that let us know that something was wrong with me long before the humans discovered cancer inside my breast.


George Farris said...

Dearest Charmaine, Congratulations and blessings! Upon waking this morning I was so pleased to receive your news, for the world would be a far poorer place without your energy and joy. I will include thanksgiving intentions in my prayers. With the appreciation and love that comes with age I remain, with warmest fraternal regard...


Anonymous said...

yeah mommy!!!!! Wish i could have been there for champs, hugs and tears.

Teri said...

Dear Char,

2009 brings a new "birthday" of sorts, and I hope and pray that you will celebrate this date every year from now on.

Crying is good, especially when there's a mammoth sigh of relief matched only with inner peace and joy. Congratulations!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations and best wishes always. I totally agree with Mr. Farris that this world be a far poorer place without you in it. And my life as well. Even though we haven't know each other long, I consider you a dear, dear friend.
You rock, girlfriend!